Writing a page-turner

As I mentioned in my last post I’ve read On Writing by Stephen King, and while I don’t agree with many of the points he makes one thing really stuck with me. If you want your writing to be exciting, page-turner stuff, then write it quickly. I worked out that I only had eight weeks of work before the school holidays start. This is important because my day-job is looking after our lovely three boys and my only time to write is weekday mornings when they’re all at pre-school and school.

So, I set out to do basically a double NaNoWriMo – 100,000 words in 8 weeks. I’m not exactly on target, but after three and a half weeks (one of which didn’t count towards the eight, as it was half-term) I have written over 20,000 words. I don’t think there are many authors who’d be disappointed with that, especially as it is in essence part-time writing at the moment.

I think part of the reason I’m writing so much is that I’ve ignored, or rather, taken a different slant on a classic piece of advice. I don’t have a set-aside area for writing. I don’t have my special desk and chair with inspiring quotes, photos and bits of plot pinned to the walls around it. What I have done is create a special place in the virtual world. I use two programs, Dropbox and Scrivener. Dropbox is a cloud served folder that works either on or off-line. If push came to shove, I could get to all my files from a library PC on the internet. Scrivener is a program written for writers which helps you keep not only the work you’re writing, but also all the notes, character sketches, spare bits of text, plot outlines, etc. all organised and in one program.

For the other part, I have a story to tell. When I was much younger, I saw a TV program like Blue Peter or Newsround. It featured this couple who owned an Aston Martin supercar even though he was a bank manager and she was a teacher (I think, it was a long time ago). The point was that they never took holidays, or ate out, or had any other hobbies, just so they could afford this one car. Now, you probably have opinions about whether this is a wise thing to do or not, but it was one of the most important lessons of my life. If you really want something, and are prepared to make sacrifices, then you can have it. Also, we’re all in charge of an amount of money, and some of our free time, and it is entirely up to each of us to choose how we might spend it.

So, I haven’t been out cycling as often as I would like (although the weather hasn’t helped), and the housework has slipped a bit as well. But I’m rapidly closing in on 21,000 words. I tend to have an attitude of looking for any spare gaps of time when I can jot down a few words. I have to wait for an hour a week while middle son goes to gym, so I take my laptop. I’m lucky in that I can work very much as-and-when, sometimes even stealing five or ten minutes to write a few words!

In short, I’ve made my choices as to where and when to use my time and other resources.


  1. Congratulations! 21000 words in that time is quite an achievement. I too find myself either writing or doing all the other things I’m meant to do (washing up, working out, eating properly, etc, etc), but it’s a price worth paying 🙂

    1. Hi Tash and thanks! The counter-productive thing is that I tend to ignore my blog when I have serious go at writing lots of words! When I get a moment (two boys home from school now) I’ll go look at your blog. Graham

  2. Great post and spot on. I’ve adopted the same attitude as if you want something badly enough you have to make some sacrifice. Great start to your eight-week goal. All the best achieving it.

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